Larry Bradley

Larry Bradley talks about the East River Mountain Tunnel. He is interviewed by Lisa Payne. (RGHS 95)

Lisa: Did you work on the building of the East River Mountain Tunnel?

Mr. Bradley: Yes I did.

Lisa: What did you do there?

Mr. Bradley: I started there as a chuck tender, then went to a carpenter and then worked in the batch plant batching concrete.

Lisa: What is chuck tender?

Mr. Bradley: A chuck tender then was when you started (the sevenhundred feet was nothing but mud and rock and everything had to be put in liner plates.)

Lisa: Where there many difficult tasks to carry out while you worked there?

Mr. Bradley: Oh, ya! There was a lot of them. Everybody had to do everything starting out.

Lisa: Like what?

Mr. Bradley: You carried liner plates, iron workers would bend the steel beams. They'd only drill half of the tunnel at a time.

Lisa: Did you use dynamite?

Mr. Bradley: Not at first, you didn't use dynamite because you had to go through mud and rock to get to solid rock.

Lisa: How was it when you used the dynamite?

Mr. Bradley: After you got into where the solid rock was you had to drill it and everything, then they started using dynamite.

Lisa: What kind of equipment did you use?

Mr. Bradley: Oh, throughout the job there was athy wagons; they turned in the middle, tons at a time. Then you had heavy equipment like loaders; they turned in the middle. Everything had to turn inside the tunnel.

Lisa: What were the conditions down there that you worked in?

Mr. Bradley: Very muddy, water all the time. The East Mountain has a tremendous amount of water, mud, and dirt and water, that's what you had wore rubber suits all the time and rubber boots.

Lisa: Did you meet a lot of interesting people worked there?

Mr. Bradley: Oh, ya a lot of people. You met people there from California and Georgia. They came from everywhere they was use to doing that type of work.

Lisa: Was there any accidents that you know of while you worked there on the tunnel that you know of?

Mr. Bradley: Why ya, there was quite a few accidents, minor accidents, some major. One guy in particular I remember from Giles County, though he lives in Blnd now, he fell on the back of anathywagon and broke his back.

Lisa: What kind of wages did you get?

Mr. Bradley: At the time, back then; that was in 1969, 70, and 71; they was very good wages for the time and period around here. Somewhere around, I don't know, you'd bring three-hundred to four-hundred a week for forty hours.

Lisa: Did you get paid by weekly or ...

Mr. Bradley: Weekly, ya, I was paid weekly.

Lisa: Were there any funny stories that you can recall?

Mr. Bradley: Ya, one in particular. The mans name was Tuggle. He was the janitor and custodian, he took care of the whole place up there; the change house and odds, where everybody showered and everything.

Lisa: Was it Tuggle?

Mr. Bradley: Tuggle, ya. And I understand now that he's done past away. So I don't mind telling it , but at the time Tuggle was custodian for the change house and went there to a daily routine, it was a twenty-four hour operation, five days a week, it was around the clock. And he got in there where we was showeren, was a large room with showers all the wa around the room, and somebody had left a piece of soap and he went in there and he just slipped on it and just took his own shower right then. That was all of that!

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